Italian restaurants have been a staple of Sydney’s food scene since at least the 1950s, and you never have to go far to find high-quality Italian cuisine. However, there are a few gems that rise to the top.
Located in some of the city’s busiest neighbourhoods, booking at the best Italian restaurants in Sydney is always a good idea. Wind down at the end of the day at chic Italian wine bars or gather for a group meal at family-friendly trattorias.
The drinks menus are a frequent highlight, with popular Italian soft drinks and wines thoughtfully sourced from around the world (but especially Italy and Australia). Some restaurants specialise in fresh hand-made pasta or traditional pizzas, while others offer varied menus with classic options alongside innovative new twists. Many have their roots in family traditions, with recipes passed down the generations all the way from Italy to Australia.
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The best Italian restaurants in Sydney to try today – read on for a guide
To try one of Sydney’s best Italian trattorias – book a table at Pellegrino 2000 in Surry Hills
Pellegrino 2000 brings the relaxed yet high-quality dining experience of Italy’s neighbourhood trattorias to Surry Hills. It’s the perfect stop after a morning of browsing the neighbourhood’s vintage shops or an evening out at the Capitol Theatre (roughly just five minutes away). Soak up the neighbourhood atmosphere under shaded umbrellas outside or book a table downstairs at the underground wine cellar, which has a cool, moody atmosphere. The menu offers unique traditional meals like bucatini pasta in rich tomato and guanciale sauce and braised artichokes. Round out the meal with a classic dessert like the hazelnut tiramisù. Pellegrino 2000 also has a set daily menu, which includes antipasti, the pasta of the day, a main dish and dessert.
For one a must-try pizzeria in Sydney – try Verace Pizzeria in Macquarie Park
Verace Pizzeria’s owner Stefano Cirene knows a thing or two about making pizza, and he’s got the awards to back it up. Highlights include placing second at the World Pizza Championships in Italy in 2017 and multiple first-place awards at Le 5 Stagioni World Pizza Championships in Australia. Following the strict guidelines set out by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (The True Neapolitan Pizza Association), the team at Verace Pizzeria ensure there’s no need to fly to Italy to get a traditional Neapolitan pizza. Opt for Verace’s signature margherita pizza made with San Marzano tomatoes and fior di latte mozzarella or try the black truffle and porcini mushrooms pie. The traditional handmade arancini balls make a perfect starter and the seasonal gelato selections are a refreshing end to the evening.
For one of the best pasta restaurants in Sydney – visit La Favola in Newtown
La Favola (literally, The Fable) weaves a story with every dish. Head chef Fabio Stefanelli grew up in Campania region, Italy, and started working at his first restaurant (the MICHELIN-starred La Terrazza) at just 14 years old. At La Favola, Stefanelli aims to recreate the feeling of a home-cooked meal with a menu inspired by his own family’s beloved recipes. Stool seating and a view of the kitchen create a relaxed vibe that feels a bit more like a cafe than a restaurant, perfect for casual catch-ups. Pasta is the specialty here, but you won’t find specific dishes on the menu. Begin by selecting your pasta (made fresh with just semolina flour and egg yolks) and pair it with any of the sauces. Try the slow-cooked octopus sauce, with calamari and prawns or enjoy the rich creamy flavours of the carbonara made with pancetta, pepper and pecorino.
For a blend of old and new – visit Osteria di Russo & Russo in Enmore
At Osteria di Russo & Russo, father and son duo Pino and Marc Russo create the feeling of a traditional 1970s trattoria with handmade dishes and a welcoming atmosphere (although they promise not to play Andrea Bocelli). A sequel of sorts to Pino Russo’s Crown Street restaurant ‘Russo’, the menu here creates classic Italian flavours using Australian ingredients and modern techniques. The set menu offers five different sharing plates with the option of adding a matching wine. On the à la carte menu, you’ll find a range of seafood dishes like mussel butter and prawn pasta and raw kingfish served with pink grapefruit. The grilled duck breast with blood orange and marsala pairs perfectly with a side of roasted duck fat potatoes served with fermented chilli. Diners come here, not only for the food but also for the local touch and attentive, personalised service.
For one of the best Italian restaurants in Sydney for group get-togethers – book at The Italian Food Project in Camden
Following “paddock to plate” principles, The Italian Food Project uses locally sourced seasonal produce to build an extensive menu of traditional Italian dishes. You’ll find classic pizza and pasta dishes alongside unique offerings like nduja pizza, topped with a paste made from spicy Calabrian salami. On Fridays and Saturdays from 6 pm and Sundays from 12 pm, the kitchen offers slow-cooked suckling pig (until it sells out). Italian doughnuts with strawberries and zabaglione are a particular highlight of the dessert menu, while the drinks list includes house wines (red, white and Muscat) and classic Italian soft drinks. In warm weather, book a table in the shaded outdoor seating area, surrounded by trees and hedges with string lights hanging from above. In the evenings, these lights and the bar provide most of the illumination, creating a dark, relaxed atmosphere where you can focus on the food and your friends.
For a relaxing evening in Sydney – head to Devine Food & Wine, in CBD
Modelled after traditional food and wine bars, Devine Food & Wine offers a calm haven in Sydney’s CBD. There are over 400 wines available (including 40 options available by the glass) with a focus on European vineyards and natural wines complemented by some Australian cult favourites, including Moss Wood and Giaconda. With sleek wooden tables and exposed brick walls, it’s a top spot for a round of after-work drinks or catching up with a friend. When it comes to the food, think handmade from handed-down recipes. Pasta and bread are made in-house each day from locally sourced ingredients. Antipasti like Italian paté or Sydney rock oysters are ideal for a light dish to accompany your wine or as the starter for a three-course meal of rib eye steak and affogato.
For a warm family-owned Italian restaurant – book at Mammas and Papas in Randwick
Share a plate of crispy bruschettas before moving on to a sizzling dish of scallops at Mammas and Papas, a family-owned Italian restaurant. The varied menu includes homemade pasta and unique signature pizzas like the My Spot, topped with grilled chicken, roasted pumpkin and sour cream. Along with high-quality dishes and ingredients, Mammas and Papas places a strong emphasis on friendly service that makes diners feel right at home. The drinks menu includes classic Italian options like Campari and soda and Chinotto (a bitter-orange soft drink) and wine from Italian and Australian vineyards. It’s ideally situated at Randwick’s popular shopping and dining district The Spot, and its rustic walls with rough wood panelling fit right in with the heritage-listed buildings in the area.
For one of Sydney’s best Italian restaurants – head to Pizza Riccardo in Narrabeen
While it’s not the only thing on the menu, pizza is certainly the star of the show at Pizza Riccardo. Diners can try traditional Neapolitan pizzas made with sourdough bases naturally leavened with Italian Caputo flour and (frequently) topped with D.O.P San Marzano tomato. Most cheeses and salumi toppings are sourced from local producers, and the pork sausages, pickled vegetables and preserved tomatoes are hand-made. Inspired by provincial Italian food, the menu at this restaurant is based on traditional recipes, with the occasional creative twist. One of the best Italian restaurants in Sydney’s Northern Beaches district, Pizza Riccardo is ideally situated on the foreshore of Narrabeen Lake. Whether you dine indoors or alfresco, you can enjoy views of the lake and Berry Reserve while you dig into marinara pizza and traditional ricotta cannoli.
For a memorable family reunion – gather at Karoo & Co The Old School in St Ives
Karoo & Co The Old School breathes new life into the heritage-listed St Ives Public School. Carefully renovated to maintain its character and charm, the charm of this restaurant is both its old-school vibes and the warmth of its hospitality. The seasonal menu uses premium ingredients to create dishes inspired by cuisines from around the world (but mostly Italy). Open from breakfast through to dinner, you can start your day with a green bowl of seasonal vegetables, hummus, quinoa and poached egg or end an evening with a wood-fired pizza and a house-made lemon meringue. An excellent option for families, Karoo & Co also has a kids menu for those under 12, with smaller servings of the most popular pizza, pasta and meat dishes. You can also ask for gluten-free pasta and pizza bases.
For one of Sydney’s best pasta restaurants – try Product of Italy in Penrith and Minchinbury
With multiple locations throughout Western Sydney, including Penrith and Minchinbury, Product of Italy offers family-friendly dining with a range of classic and creative Italian dishes. Bite into crispy, thin-based pizzas topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, fresh herbs, meats and vegetables. Or, savour chewy pasta with rich bolognese, arrabbiata or marinara sauces. The lunch deals are great for a wallet-friendly day out, offering discounts on select pizza/pasta and soft drink combos. Don’t leave without at least perusing the dessert menu where you’ll find classic Italian desserts and a range of gelato flavours (served straight or ‘tipsy’, with limoncello or coffee liqueur). While each Product of Italy location has its own unique atmosphere, you’ll reliably find lights and potted plants hanging from the ceiling, black and white photos on the wall and friendly waitstaff ready to welcome you to your table.
📍 Penrith — Check availability
📍 Minchinbury — Check availability
It’s easy to see that each of these restaurants has something unique to offer. From award-winning pizzas to pasta recipes passed down the generations, the only difficulty is choosing which restaurant to visit first. With the added bonus of carefully sourced wines and enticing dessert menus, your next Italian meal is sure to be a special experience.
If you’re looking to delve beyond the top 10 Italian restaurants, find more of the best restaurants in Sydney on OpenTable today.